Brazil’s Richarlison scored a superb goal to win the World Cup
That’s what happened on Thursday night, when a goal at this nascent World Cup graced the Lusail Stadium two days after he did the same. Where there was Saudi Arabia over Argentina on Tuesday, now followed a 73-minute spectacle in Brazil over Serbia. That sealed Brazil’s first 2-0 victory. It came from Richarlison, a 25-year-old who has scored a lot of goals of late. It made people gasp, and perhaps involuntarily.
It caused a stadium roar that carried an unmistakable sound of wonder and was sustained longer than most such sounds. It sent Tite, the long-serving Brazil manager, into a lovely frenzy as he went to hug his staff, saying afterwards: “Sometimes the feelings can’t be explained.” And it gave postgame rallies the kind of lingering buzz that can’t be achieved from the non-alcoholic beer they serve in these stadiums.
“I thought it was a beautiful goal,” Richarlison said of his bicycle kick in the middle of the box. He mentioned previous and similar goals with Fluminense in Brazil and Everton in England and said: “Today I had the opportunity to score an acrobatic goal which was very, very beautiful, I think one of the most beautiful in my career. It was a very difficult game for us, so I think it was one of the best goals I’ve scored.”
He has scored 88 in club play, 19 in international play and two of those 19 on Thursday night, so it’s a load of goals to be reckoned with. “As our professor Tite says, ‘You smell like a goal,'” Richarlison said. “And that’s what happens.” It brought a reward to those who traveled to the stadium in anticipation of beauty as the spotless new subway cars and shiny new subway stations were filled with that old, reliable, electric yellow.
What they saw and must have judged on the way home in Portuguese and a bunch of other languages even managed to overshadow something that is difficult to overshadow. Neymar, Brazil’s most recognizable figure, turns 30 today and lives in Paris, suffered a nasty ankle injury in the second half, played another 11 minutes before his manager realized it, earned praise from his manager for his pain tolerance and became subject A press conference appearance by the team doctor, who said it was too early to say much.
“We are confident that Neymar will continue to play,” Tite said. “He will continue to play in the World Cup.” If so, he could help guide Brazil’s bid for a first World Cup title in 20 years, as well as continue Brazil’s scoring record of Pele with 77 and Neymar with 75. If not, well, there are other stars with electric skill in electric yellow, and both goals on Thursday went on merry-go-rounds through Vinicius Junior to Richarlison.
It happened in the 62nd minute, when Vinicius Junior, Real Madrid’s 22-year-old prodigy of energy and precision and employment, caught a ball that Neymar had lost track of on the left edge of the box and suddenly hit the goal. , where goalkeeper Vanja Milinković-Savić got out to save it before Richarlison easily put it in.
That made it 1-0, and it wasn’t what people will remember.
The unforgettable one followed 11 minutes later, and again it depended on the creation of Vinicius Junior. He, of course, operated from the left wing, and this time he slipped a sight ball through a narrow corridor of human obstacles. It found its way to Richarlison in the middle of the box and then there was a whoop.
Richarlison left-footed it and beat it in the air. Then he turned around, turned his body and drove it with his right leg. It barely burned an inch over the left shoulder of Serbian defender Miloš Velijković, while Richarlison’s flying boot nearly nudged Velijković’s head. He kept his screaming line and rushed inside the left post, and Milinković-Savic was as helpless in his late rear as any of the 8 billion Earthlings would be. For the second time in a short period, the entire Brazilian team gathered in a corner to celebrate.
“It’s going up,” Tite said of the ball, “and he’s moving all his plans,” and what masterful planners they are.
The most star-studded World Cup team, Brazil, finally made their debut in this 22nd Men’s World Cup, the 22nd that Brazil has qualified for. He became the last great to start this World Cup with a strange position in the calendar. Her fans from all over the world, with plenty of time to spare, arrived with their singing volume in the usual outpouring of can’t wait. With a few mixed Serbs in red and blue, they emptied towards the Lusail Stadium, a futuristic structure that at night somehow resembles an illuminated soap dish.
They saw Brazil, normally the favorite in the tournament, pass some with a more than capable Serbia through the first half without much failure. “During the break,” said Tite, the 61-year-old who has coached Brazil since 2016, “I had to tell my players to calm down, because first we have [lightness] that we had to pass the ball.”
He said, “We have to reduce the adrenaline.”
They made adjustments in positioning and soon, assistant Cleber Xavier said, “We continued to increase the speed, spread the movements and create the opportunity,” after which they created a miracle.
Group G left the starting gate with the Brazilians level on three points with the Swiss and Richarlison declared a “lovely night” with a “beautiful win” so “now we have six games to go” but first he would check on Neymar back at the hotel. Serbia, which won its group in the qualifiers, “was always under a lot of pressure” in the match, Tite said, “so it demanded a lot from us.” It all made for an early start to Brazil’s bid to extend its record five World Cup titles to six, and a gasping reminder that Brazil’s reality has at times matched that notion.
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